Triumph claims to be top European motorcycle maker in U.S.

Triumph says it beat BMW and KTM to take to top European bike-seller crown in U.S.

Triumph Motorcycles has announced with some fanfare that it is the top-selling European bike brand in North America.

With January sales at a massive increase over the same month a year ago, the British manufacturer said it has beaten BMW and KTM to take the No. 1 sales spot.

"Consumers continue to be attracted to our distinctive British styling with modern technology on our bikes," said Triumph Motorcycles America Chief Operating Officer Matt Sheahan.

The company said it had sold 858 units in the month, up from 462 units a year ago, with the Modern Classics line of Bonnevilles, Scramblers and Thruxtons accounting for almost half of  sales.

According to one Triumph dealer who spoke on condition of anonymity, the higher sales numbers are partly the result of the company pushing dealers to take delivery of more bikes than they wanted.

"It backfired," the dealer said. "We had too much stock -- good for consumers, but our margins suffered."

The No. 1 European bike crown doesn't make Triumph the No. 1 bike brand overall -- not by a stretch. Though most motorcycle companies do not report unit sales, Honda is generally assumed to be the top foreign manufacturer in terms of U.S. sales, followed by its Japanese counterparts Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki.

The top overall seller is, year in and year out, Harley-Davidson. Most seasons, the Milwaukee-based big bike manufacturer is responsible for more than 50% of all new motorcycles sold in the U.S.

Twitter: @misterfleming

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